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December 25 – Fairies

The myth of fairies has no single origin, but stories of fairy-like creatures are common throughout folklore. These magical creatures usually have a human appearance plus their most distinctive feature – wings. Andrew…

December 21 – Werewolf

Werewolves are humans with the ability to change into wolves, voluntarily or not, most often on the night of a full moon. This illustration, by Henry J Ford, is from the The Red Romance Book (1905) edited by Andrew…

December 19 – Salamander

While salamanders are real creatures (lizards), within folklore they have been endowed with remarkable attributes, mainly their ability to withstand fire. The image of a salamander was often used within alchemy as a…

December 17 – Basilisk

Known as the king of the serpents, the basilisk (from ‘basiliskos’ meaning little king) is a legendary reptile known to be able to kill with just a glance. The basilisk is referred to as the ‘king’ because of the crown…

December 16 – Kraken

The kraken is a giant sea monster from Scandinavian folklore, said to plague sailors. Olaus Magnus, a Swedish author most well known for his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (A Description of the Northern…

December 14 – Cerberus

Cerberus, the ‘hound of Hades’, is a three headed dog with the tail of a serpent, which according to mythology, guards the gates of the underworld. Cerberus appears in many works of classical literature by Homer,…

December 11 – Hippogriff

Probably most well known now as a character in Harry Potter, the hippogriff is a legendary creature which is half eagle and half horse. This depiction is from Ludovico Ariosto’s poem, Orlando furioso, which first…